Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Urban Informal Sector: How Much Women Are Struggling for Family Survival

The paper analyses the contribution of informally employed women (for the age group of 16–60 years) to their household budget. The urban informal sector largely absorbs women workers. We examine the determinants of their contribution to their household budgets for the survival of the families. Applying the OLS model to 937 observations, it is found that women as heads of household, women’s education, and ownership of assets by woman have a positive effect on their contribution. The burden of the large family size, household poverty, and loans availed by the household are shared by the informally employed women, as these variables positively affect their contribution. Age of the woman has a non-linear effect on woman’s contribution. The contribution first increases and then decreases by an increase in the age of the woman. Married women and women living in nuclear families contribute more to the household budget. The household per capita income and number of children (5–15 years) in the household have shown a negative effect on the contribution of women to the household budget. The household’s economic vulnerability due to unemployment of husband and lower productivity caused by lower education of husband are also largely shared by the urban informally employed women, i.e., they struggle more for family survival. However, the number of adult males in the household decreases the volume of contribution by women and the burden on women is relaxed.

Rana Ejaz Ali Khan, Tasnim Khan